Creepy / Death / Occult / Places & Travel / Staff Picks

Jail for a Night

I went to Terror Behind the Walls this weekend. It’s an old jail in Philadelphia that is transformed into a horror house every Halloween season.  The sprawling grounds are infested with gruesome zombies, escaped convicts, depraved prison guards, and they sidle up to you in the dark, even while you wait on line…slowly approach, sniff your hair, circle you and smile. See you inside, they purr. Pure terror.


I was practically delirious with delight.

If you want to be touched, you can request a glow-in-the-dark necklace, which I eagerly fastened around my neck, squealing when an officer with facial sores and shredded eye sockets roughly shoved me inside.

Dark, smoke-filled, twisted corridors, bloody bodies crawling on the floor grabbing my foot, hands pulling my hair, taunting whispers followed by maniacal laughter and the clanging of chains…that was just the first room.

An infirmary with a female doctor who has half a face and is methodically hacking a cadaver into bite-sized pieces.

A rusty bus with a driver who escaped the psych ward.

Two balloon-like tubes between which you have to squeeze yourself as the beasts reach for you from the ceiling.

A bridge in a revolving tunnel.

A hall where you have to wear 3-D glasses and baby heads in jars float toward you.

A room with a growling beast guarding every exit.

I screamed at the smallest movement, hollered at every gruesome face, ran wildly from each creature…and hungered for more, more, more.


Maybe it’s the pure physical rush of pumping adrenaline, maybe it’s the sense of relief that follows, maybe it’s the ability to feel two opposing emotions at once, to be so scared that it hurts and to feel so ridiculously good at the same time it should be impossible, but whatever it is all I know is that I slept like the dead that night.

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